Ruth Heath-Trott and Mike Nelson to Be Honored by USBC

by Bob Johnson 0

Ruth Heath-Trott of Montpelier, Ohio, and Mike Nelson of Houston have been selected by the United States Bowling Congress Board of Directors to receive national recognition awards.

Heath-Trott will receive the Helen Baker Award for Outstanding Association Service, and Nelson has been named USBC Proprietor of the Year. Both awards will be presented at the USBC Convention and Annual Meeting, set for April 24-27 in Las Vegas.

Heath-Trott has served the sport of bowling on the local, state and national levels for more than 50 years. She currently is President of the Greater Toledo USBC, a position she has held for the last six years, and is a director on the Ohio State USBC Youth Association. She served as the Ohio Women’s Bowling Association President for 12 years.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized for doing something that I truly love,” Heath-Trott said. “It is a very special award to me because I knew and worked with Helen Baker, and she was someone I hold with great respect. We do not spend the hours working for our chosen sport with the idea that we are working toward any honors, but because we firmly believe in what we are doing. Bowling has been a very important part of my life and I place a very high value on the people I have met and the friends I have made along the way.”

During 25 years with the Ohio WBA, Heath-Trott served on the first Women’s International Bowling Congress Area Recruitment panel, was the WIBC-Ohio State Coordinator for Membership Development, and chaired the first Membership Development Workshop in Toledo in 1994.

After retiring from the Ohio USBC WBA, she focused on the local level, helping the Greater Toledo USBC complete its Procedure and Policy Manual, and helped increase the board’s involvement. She also brought back the hall of fame, shelved because of a lack of funds, and was instrumental in putting together the winning bids for the 2012 and 2016 Ohio State USBC B.A. Championships and the 2013 Ohio USBC Women’s Bowling Championships.

She has received numerous honors, including election to the Ohio Bowling Hall of Fame in 1994 and Ohio USBC WBA Hall of Fame in 2004, both for meritorious service. She has participated in 46 USBC Women’s Championships, and is a charter member of the Montpelier WBA Hall of Fame, elected for Superior Performance in 1988.

Nelson is President and General Manager of Copperfield Bowling Center. He has been with the company, Tropicana Inc., for 38 years, serving as Manager for eight years and General Manager for 24 years before assuming the role of proprietor six years ago. He worked under the guidance of USBC Hall of Famer Bill Lilliard Sr. and Texas USBC Hall of Famer Pete Treybig, his father-in-law.

“He taught me this business and he always said, ‘Treat the customer like you would want to be treated,’” Nelson said of Treybig. “I have always tried to do this through hard work and service for our bowling community. To win an award from a board that represents the customers makes this award even more special to me.”

Nelson currently is Vice President of the Texas Bowling Centers Association, having served on its board since 2006, and will take over as President in April. He served as President of the Houston Bowling Proprietors for more than 10 years.

Nelson has been actively involved in the Texas High School Bowling Club, was instrumental in helping the club programs in the Cypress-Fairbanks School District get started, and has worked with those programs for more than 15 years. He also is a strong supporter of the Bowler’s Ed In-School Bowling program, and since 2006 has introduced the sport at more than 30 elementary schools using the kits that provide carpeted bowling lanes and instruction.

Copperfield Bowling Center has been the host center for PBA Southwest Region events, Texas State Bowling Association tournaments, Greater Houston USBC city tournaments, Special Olympic regional and state events, and THSBC state and regional tournaments.

Nelson has been honored with numerous awards, including the 2014 BPAA Proprietor of the Year for the state of Texas, the 2010 Texas State Bowling Association Proprietor of the Year, and the 2003 Texas Women’s Bowling Association Proprietor of the Year.

The USBC Joyce Deitch Unity Award will not be awarded in 2017.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.